Human rights protesters use National Day to reject Beijing's claim of improvements
Hundreds of petitioners used National Day to reject official claims that human rights conditions in the country have improved. Amid tight security, they staged a protest outside the Beijing office of the United Nations Refugee Agency on Friday.
Some of the petitioners say many of the demonstrators were quickly whisked away.
In a white paper on human rights released last week, the State Council claimed promotion of human rights was improving - particularly in the areas of internet freedom and efforts to safeguard civil and political rights.
The paper said government at all levels had received 300,000 letters and heard from more than one million petitioners last year.
The hundreds of petitioners outside the UN agency in Beijing on Friday did not agree. One of them, Jiang Jiawen , said yesterday that police were taking no chances when he and 30 other petitioners arrived on Friday morning. Nearly 100 police officers had been deployed to control almost every street corner in the capital's embassy area in Chaoyang district.
'There were leaflets all over the footpath, put there by a man from Henan . He was dressed in white and had scrawled his grievances all over his clothes. He was quickly taken away by the police,' Jiang said.
'At least 300 petitioners were forced onto buses and driven away.'
Calls to the Beijing office of the UN agency went unanswered yesterday.